Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Astrid - Strange Weather Lately

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

Living in Scotland was amazing for more reasons than I can count, not least of which because at the time, I was still deep in the throes of being totally obsessed with British bands. It was a great, great time living in the lovely North of the Border and being closer than close to so many great bands. For one so enamored, it was a rather perfect storm.

One band I decided lit my fire while on Scottish soil was Astrid, a band full of cheeky Scots indie popsters. They brought together the melodic nature of their countrymen Teenage Fanclub with a healthy dose of 60s jangle, not to mention some eyebrow-raising, sly grin-inducing lyrics. Strange Weather Lately has been a constant companion for a number of years now, and if you've not yet heard it, you really ought to.

From the start, Strange Weather Lately is a quite a little charmer. The lively bounce of "Kitchen T.V." playfully tackles the touchy subject of self-gratification (here's looking at you, gentlemen) with a priceless refrain of "Baby save me from myself/or from the hand of someone else." "High In The Morning" gleefully bounds along in giddy abandon, full of "ooh la la la" and much melodic mirth. Astrid pays particular homage to The Zombies on "Zoo," as both vocally and instrumentally the band does their best 60s impression on this one. When it comes to inspiration, it doesn't get much better than Colin Blunstone and company.

The brief "Like A Baby" hearkens back to the wonderful, legendary Liverpudlians The Las, in all that arch, chilled-to-perfection vibe and the groovy jingle of the guitar. To me, though, the records piece-de-resistance has been, and will always be, that delirious ode to androgyny "Boy Or Girl." If it sounds familiar, well, it's probably because once upon a time it graced a Target ad. "Are you a boy or a girl?" muses the band, before answering itself with the tongue-in-cheek line "Either way you rock my world." What the lyrics lack in deviation they more than make up for in catchiness. It's two minutes of absolute indiepop bliss run rampant, and to this day it never ceases to make me smile.

Strange Weather Lately was a favorite while I was entrenched in bonnie Scotland, and I still think it's a pretty dang great album. For a good time, darlings, just call Astrid.

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